World Cup 2014 SLIDESHOW: Opening Ceremony, Tournament Opener And Ongoing Protests

  @KukilBora on June 13 2014 5:07 AM
  • 2014WorldCup_openingceremony
    (L-R) Singers Jennifer Lopez, Pitbull and Claudia Leitte perform during the opening ceremony of the 2014 World Cup at the Corinthians arena in Sao Paulo on June 12, 2014. Reuters/Kai Pfaffenbach
  • 2014WorldCup_SaoPaulo
    Singers Claudia Leitte, Jennifer Lopez and Pitbull perform during the 2014 World Cup opening ceremony at the Corinthians arena in Sao Paulo June 12, 2014. Reuters/Fabrizio Bensch
  • performer_WorldCup_openingceremony
    A performer participates in the 2014 World Cup opening ceremony. Reuters/Kai Pfaffenbach
  • Performers_WorldCup_opening ceremony
    Performers are thrown into the air during the 2014 World Cup opening ceremony at the Corinthians arena in Sao Paulo on June 12, 2014. Reuters/Ivan Alvarado
  • 2014WorldCup_openingceremony
    Performers participate in the opening ceremony of the 2014 World Cup at the Corinthians arena in Sao Paulo June 12, 2014. Reuters/Damir Sagolj
  • Brazil_Neymar
    Brazil's Neymar scores a penalty as Croatia's Stipe Pletikosa (C) tries to save it during the 2014 World Cup opening match between Brazil and Croatia at the Corinthians arena in Sao Paulo June 12, 2014. Reuters/Damir Sagolj
  • Croatia_Brazil
    Croatia's Ivan Rakitic and Brazil's Marcelo fight for the ball during their 2014 World Cup opening match at the Corinthians arena in Sao Paulo June 12, 2014. Reuters/Murad Sezer
  • Brazil_protests
    Demonstrators build a barricade with a traffic sign during a demonstration against the 2014 World Cup in Sao Paulo during a protest against the 2014 World Cup, in Sao Paulo on June 12, 2014. REUTERS/Nacho Doce
  • Protesters_Brazil
    Protesters face riot police during a demonstration against the 2014 World Cup in Recife June 12, 2014. Reuters/Yves Herman
1 of 9

The 2014 Soccer World Cup in Brazil kicked off Thursday in São Paulo in a way guaranteed to warm most fans' hearts -- with a colorful, star-studded opening ceremony followed by a spectacular albeit controversial win against Croatia for the national team in the tournament's first game, while protests raged on outside during and after the event.

After stunning dance performances by 500 performers, a giant colorful ball in the middle of the stadium opened up to present rapper Pitbull, Jennifer Lopez and Brazilian singer Claudia Leitte on stage, who then performed “We Are One,” the official song of the 2014 World Cup.

After the opening ceremony, it was time for Thiago Silva’s men to spring into action and notch a win for the national side. Neymar, who has been the face of the Brazilian team in the lead-up to this World Cup, rose to the occasion and scored two goals to give his team a 3-1 victory over Croatia. Oscar, the attacking midfielder, scored the third goal for Brazil only minutes before the final whistle.

While it was mostly party-time in São Paulo, many people assembled outside the stadium to protest against alleged overspending by Brazil's government on the tournament, which they claim has diverted much needed funds away from services such as education, health and security. Earlier on Thursday morning, violence erupted in São Paulo when police clashed with protesters about seven miles from the Arena Corinthians stadium, CNN reported.

Here is a look at the day in pictures from Brazil.

Join the Discussion